My municipality is demanding payment on national health insurance.

Discussion in 'Japan Practical' started by Prometheus, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. Prometheus

    Prometheus Registered

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    Hi everyone this is equal parts question and information.

    In short, by law, everyone in Japan is required to pay for national health insurance based on your ability to pay through your level of income.

    In reality, after about four years of paying it, they suddenly doubled my monthly bill. I went to the city and explained I couldn't afford it and they politely said: "there's nothing we can do".

    Years later the city is now demanding payment on YEARS of health insurance I didn't use because I opted to change to private health insurance. It's like going to a restaurant and them giving you a bill for all the meals you haven't eaten there in the last 5 or 10 years.

    I'm looking for advice as to what to do from others who are experiencing the same thing. There are thousands of foreigners in Japan who like myself, are refusing to pay for a service we don't use or benefit from.

    There are many foreigners who refuse to pay it on the basis that they have private health insurance and the payment is supposed to include old age pension. The issue is while in theory, those payments should either lead to pension payments here upon retirement ( after 25 years of paying in ) or be transferred back to my home country when I return.

    In reality, there is no clear or established procedure ( aka you will probably NEVER see any of the money you contributed ever again:-? ).

    In my case, I just tried to get permanent residence, and they said "no", in essence, meaning that they are happy to let me stay as long as I pay taxes, but that I won't be allowed to stay after that.

    So any money I pay into their system, I almost certainly never see again:-?
     
  2. johnnyG

    johnnyG 先輩

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    It sounds like you bit hook, line, and sinker, into some "independent" financial advisor's sales pitch about how some foreign/expat health insurance plan would be just as good as what's offered here. And that it could substitute for for your normal obligations.

    Welcome to the real world.

    That "plan" that you bought into? You've been scammed.
     
  3. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    You have spent years and years and years not paying for something you KNOW you're legally required to pay for....and you act surprised they refused you PR?

    That's rich.

    Can you point to some section of the law that says foreigners have some special privilege to unilaterally exempt themselves from their legal obligation if they buy private health insurance?
     
  4. Glenski

    Glenski Just me

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    Do you say the same thing about health insurance you pay for back home? I doubt it. As you probably very well know. insurance is to INSURE your financial situation against hospital bills that you would have to pay if you get sick or injured. Nobody says you WILL get sick or injured, but that's what the laws of probability are all about. You only have to pay 30% of the bill if you maintain insurance, and that could really save your financial *** if the situation is severe.

    Yeah, some foreigners and even some Japanese dodge the payments. They are lazy selfish slobs as far as I'm concerned, and if they have to pay large hospital bills (100% of the bill, at that), then that's their punishment.

    You were very lucky that it took 4 years before someone "suddenly" raised your premiums. It should have been only 1-2 years. Boo hoo that you now are forced to follow the LAW and pay as much as 2 years of backpayments. Don't like it? Hide, change prefectures, or go away. I have no sympathy for you.

    I'm with Mike regarding your failure to get PR. Why should they give it to a slacker?

    Wrong. You get a large amount when you leave the country, as long as you've paid into the system and follow the rules. It's called a lump sum pension withdrawal. Read.

    As for hearing from city hall that there is nothing they can do for you, that's bullshit. I know for a fact that they will negotiate. You just have not tried hard enough to explain.
     
  5. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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  6. Prometheus

    Prometheus Registered

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    Not at all, I chose to do it when I realized that the Japanese government didn't care whether I could afford the new rate or not. I was in good standing until they got greedy. In the decade I've been here I used my health insurance probably 3 times for minor things, and don't unnecessarily go to the doctor. They can exactly argue that it was based on my use of benefits.
     
  7. johnnyG

    johnnyG 先輩

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    #7 johnnyG, Oct 22, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
    As Mike said (in more politer words), you're a doofus. (I didn't see that you'd made a PR application until after my initial reply.)

    You should be permanently banned from ever getting PR.
     
  8. Prometheus

    Prometheus Registered

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    Another toxic forum, get a life if you have nothing useful to add. I am making a legitimate objection to a broken system that's incompetently administered.

    I'm looking for information and advice, their refusal of my permanent residency just verifies that refusing to pay for the pension I'll never see is the correct choice. I wanted it more to save the pain in the *** trips to immigration every three years, not because I want to stay in a country whose economy will have completely collapsed by the time I reach retirement age.

    There was legislation that tied health insurance payment to visa's and an articulate intelligent group used the Japanese system to remove that provision from legislation as THOUSANDS have refused to pay into a system from which they will never see their pension payments returned. I'm looking for them NOT YOU.
     
  9. HanSolo

    HanSolo Sempai

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    Welcome to socialized medicine. Whether or not you use it or not is irrelevant. That's the "socialized" bit.

    I'm not sure what you expect us to say? The law is the law, and in any other country they'd start garnishing your wages. That you're surprised or feel slighted that they won't now grant you permanent residency (something that's a concession from them to you after you won't even do what they want), after failing to fulfill your duties as a non-permanent resident... it's just very difficult to comprehend your line of thinking.

    So as I see it you have 3 options if you don't like this:
    • you can pay them the full back-payment, with attached expressions of remorse for failing to pay, and maybe even throwing in some group bowing, and hope they change their mind about the PR
    • you find another country that doesn't have socialized medicine and get PR there
    • you lead a successful insurrection against the state and impose your new "no socialized medicine" regime
    Good luck!
     
  10. Prometheus

    Prometheus Registered

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    I'm not against socialized medicine, it's a great thing, I'm against being asked to pay more than I'm able, which is opposed to socialized healthcare. It's supposed to be based on ability to pay, and I can't pay what they're asking.

    Some laws are poorly implemented and even the Japanese system has provision for that, which is why the provision for tying visa's to social healthcare payments was defeated.

    I have every desire to leave Japan, but even without paying for THEIR health insurance I'm not yet able to afford to leave. Nothing would make me happier than leaving the fundamentally broken ESL industry and this country behind.

    Am I truly the only one who sees the Japanese government wants all the benefits and taxes of skilled foreign workers without any intention of returning the same benefits upon retirement? They want
    foreigners to come, work, contribute, pay taxes, healthcare, and pension they will never collect, then return to their home countries WITHOUT taking their pension contributions with them.

    I won't waste any more time explaining my position, disagree, judge, do whatever validates you. I'm looking for a viable course of action I can take and financially afford, which is less than the monthly amount they're currently asking for.
     
  11. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    If he would read the link I posted or have someone read it for him he would see that it doesn't have to be "any other country" for garnishing of wages to happen. He could potentially face that as well as court-ordered seizure of his personal belongings.
     
  12. HanSolo

    HanSolo Sempai

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    Well I don't have any well-informed advice in getting out of what you're in, other than one anecdote, and the advice "find some way to cut down your expenses or earn more money". It could be moving out to a cheaper province that's desperate for teachers, for example.

    The anecdote is as follows: I was acquainted with one guy who did something similar to you, didn't pay his insurance, wracked up thousands in debt on it, etc. From what he said he found some way around paying for it, on the grounds he didn't have that money, but he didn't explain how, so he might have been bullshitting. I vaguely recall he said he got someone to help talk to them, e.g. a friend who was a lawyer. I don't have contact with him anymore so no way to ask him for more information.

    But don't expect the government to co-operate with your not paying; the bureaucrats there will of course say "nothing we can do". Really you'll need to get your own advocate, an English speaking lawyer who will know the right avenues, but of course they'll charge. Somebody here might know some of the loopholes or the provisions for requesting adjustments in your payments, if they exist. But a lawyer definitely would.
     
  13. Majestic

    Majestic 先輩

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    Yes, you may well be the only one who sees things in this highly distorted and unusual way. Not only is there a clear and well-defined option for you to claim your benefits back should you leave Japan, but the rules for actually drawing the pension have recently been relaxed, and the 25-year continuous payment requirement is now only 10 years.
    Regarding your municipality's claim on unpaid premiums, this seems to be a case where you mistakenly believed you were exempt from payments (no matter how you justify it to yourself) and now the local government is merely trying to collect what you should have been paying all along. I don't see any evidence of greed. There are options for people who have hardship, and these have been discussed on this forum before.
     
  14. johnnyG

    johnnyG 先輩

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    You can get three years' worth back. Can you name another country that is equally generous?

    And, as pointed out, if you now stay for ten years, you'll get a monthly payout for life.
     
  15. HanSolo

    HanSolo Sempai

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    ...until the Japanese government defaults on its debt :emoji_grin:
    Alternatively, pays you in confetti
     
  16. Majestic

    Majestic 先輩

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    I think its fantasy to believe the Japanese government will default on debt it owes to its own people, n its own currency. But it is the sort of bogeyman that makes the OP feel emboldened to do reckless things like ignore pension obligations. "The government will collapse before it pays my pension, therefore it is wise for me not to pay into it". I thought the same thing myself 30 years ago. Now, I am so close to the age age where I can collect the pension, I realize how stupid I was.
     
  17. johnnyG

    johnnyG 先輩

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    As an aside, I don't see it as socialized medicine. It's civilized medicine--healthcare, in some hopefully good form and packaging of trade-offs, should be as much a part of the air as things like education, public safety, infrastructure, and many other things. I'm thankful that Japan has gotten what I consider living in a civil society right.

    @Prometheus I could complain, but I don't: Last year I probably made three (if not four) times what you did, and since premiums are based on income, I'm effectively subsidizing you. Also, since my wife works and makes decent money (again, far more than you), what I contribute does not cover her--she has to pay based on her salary, too, so hey, she's subsidizing you, too! Have you even considered this aspect of the system?

    As pointed out above, during your first year here you were "gifted" free healthcare. Yeah, it cost something, but since premiums are based on your previous year's income (and you effectively had 'zero'), you had world-class healthcare at your fingertips for a pittance. You didn't use it? Well, I'd suggest considering it the 'cost' of living in a civil, first-world society.

    You don't have enough money to leave? Luckily you're not in the US, where a health issue can bankrupt you.

    :emoji_blush: You don't have enough money to leave? Go smack a cop--I'm sure you'll be put on plane rather soon.
     
  18. HanSolo

    HanSolo Sempai

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    My point was that "collecting the pension" may turn out like "collecting a pension" in Greece, Mexico, or Germany in their respective eras of money troubles. I.e. you do get your allocated yen, but "oh great thanks". The maths is all there, but who knows when it will happen.

    But definitely not before OP leaves or they forget his debt.
     
  19. thesuker

    thesuker 先輩

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    I recently heard about a Japanese girl who went to live to Australia for a year, came back to Japan to find she had a bunch of unpayed health insurance bills, cried a little bit at the 市役所 and got them pardoned.

    So just of curiosity (I'm very happy to pay all my health insurance and pension bills), what happens if a foreigner leaves Japan with a large amount of unpayed bills and wants to re-enter later on? Do they deny him entrance? Does he get arrested on entry? Can he get the bills pardoned?
     
  20. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    Isn't that the same girl who washed her dog and then dried him in the microwave?
     
  21. thesuker

    thesuker 先輩

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    Nope, it's the one who told me the story herself and gave me the idea of going to the 市役所 myself to try and get a deduction when I received a 2.200 dollar bill for last year's pension (I started paying it this year) :emoji_smile:
     
  22. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    She could have avoided the trouble and bills and tears entirely if she had just gone there before she left and filed a海外転出届 like she was supposed to.

    The reason she was able to get it excused is because there already exists a provision for being exempted while out of the country.

    You can try crying to get your pension contribution excused if you like. Let us know how that goes.
     
  23. thesuker

    thesuker 先輩

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    There's a document you can fill in and ask for a deduction, which is what I did, and got a 50% one, no crying involved. I still have to pay about 100.000 yen, but it won't hurt my finances as much.
     
  24. johnnyG

    johnnyG 先輩

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    And the other far more common case--a student enrolled in uni can file and be also be exempted from pension contributions when they turn 20.
     
  25. Vincent3

    Vincent3 後輩

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    Are you saying that it just doubled out of nowhere, as if they capriciously decided to charge you more? I'd think it doubled because your income had changed.
     

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